Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Even with crowded backfield, Mark Ingram should keep marching for Saints

The New Orleans Saints were very busy this offseason. They lost Brandin Cooks and "replaced" him with Ted Ginn. They also added Adrian Peterson in free agency and Alvin Kamara in the draft. This has caused people to freak out about Mark Ingram. Not because they think Peterson is going to take the job, but because Ingram is in a committee now. 

Ingram is in a committee. Ingram has always been in a committee.

Tim Hightower and Travaris Cadet combined for 199 touches last year. Do we really think a 32 year old coming off a knee injury and a rookie are going to take a lot more than that? I don't. My doubt is reflected in my ranking of the Saints Fantasy assets:

*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.

New Orleans Saints
Player Name Expected FP Position Rank Expected PPR FP Position Rank
164.2 #10 256.2 #10
368.9 #4 368.9 #4
158.6 #15 206.6 #15
131.8 #26 214.8 #23
97.3 #40 111.3 #48
87.6 #15 140.6 #16
104.6 #50 163.6 #52

Breaking down the touches

It probably seems weird to think about the Saints having an abundance of running back touches when they're such a pass-heavy team. It's because they run an abundance of offensive plays. 

Over the past three seasons they've averaged 667 pass attempts and 402 rush attempts. That's pass-heavy alright, but when 160 of those passes go to running backs it changes the equation. There's plenty of room for Peterson and Kamara to have a role while Mark Ingram remains a solid No. 2 running back in Fantasy.

Of course, we've also got 500 targets left to play with and no Brandin Cooks. Let's break down the expectations: 

Saints touches
Player RuSHARE RuATT ReSHARE TGT REC TD
Mark Ingram 45% 180 10% 64 48 8
Adrian Peterson 37% 148 4% 25 14 5
Alvin Kamara 3% 17 7% 47 34 2
Michael Thomas 0% 0 20% 132 92 9
Willie Snead 0% 0 19% 122 83 5
Ted Ginn 0% 0 16% 105 59 4
Coby Fleener 0% 0 14% 89 53 4

Of note:

  • This is not a huge increase in targets for Michael Thomas, but the Saints simply don't force the ball to one man. They haven't had a receiver with 130 targets since 2012.
  • Historically, New Orleans threw a quarter of their targets to the tight end position -- until Coby Fleener's big letdown in 2016. If Fleener shows better it wouldn't be surprising to see a bounceback from him.
  • Even if Peterson wins the job I don't see an upside as high as what I have for Ingram above.

The Leftovers

The frustrating thing about the Saints is how many bodies they use. On a week-to-week basis it can be maddening forecasting touches. But it also gives younger players an opportunity to rise to the top. Brandon Coleman could be that guy in 2017, especially if one of the guys in front of him gets injured. Coleman has the size to be a red zone threat and wasn't terrible in the limited targets he received in 2016. This is also his third year in the league, for all you third-year breakout fans.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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